Anatoly Legkodimovthe founder and majority owner of a cryptocurrency exchange Biturat Co., Ltd.was arrested on Tuesday, January 17, 2023. He was indicted for conducting an unlicensed money transfer business.
Prosecutors allege that Legkodimov had a money transfer business carrying illicit funds. Bitzlato specifically failed to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and failed to comply with US regulatory safeguards. If convicted, Legkodimov faces up to his five-year prison sentence.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Bitzlato handled more than $700 million in illicit funds. Overall, exchanges have processed approximately $4.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions since 2018.
Bitzlato has been accused of not implementing the necessary AML safeguards and not requiring users to sufficiently verify their identities. While also requiring minimal identity verification from users, the exchange allowed them to provide information belonging to “Straumann registrants”. , which is said to help exchanges become popular among criminals.
usa lawyer bleon peace The Eastern District of New York discussed the shady happenings in Bitzrath. Peace explained: “Institutions that trade cryptocurrencies are not above the law and their owners are beyond our reach. As an exchange, it marketed itself to criminals, resulting in deposits worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The defendant is now paying for the malicious role his company has played in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. ”
Catering to cybercrime?
Bitzlato is said to have become a haven for criminal activity due to its non-compliance with KYC regulations. According to some sources, the cryptocurrency exchange posted an ad on its Russian-language site, suggesting that users could open an account without a passport or photo, just with his email address.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco issued a warning to those involved in illegal financial activities around the world. Monaco said: Today’s action sends a clear message. Whether you’re breaking laws from China or Europe, or exploiting the financial system from a tropical island, you can expect to answer crimes within US courts. “
A statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice explains that Bitzlato has strong ties to Hydra Market. Hydra was his anonymous, illegal online marketplace for drugs, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification, and money laundering services. The agency suggests that Hydra was the world’s largest and longest running darknet marketplace.
Hydra users have exchanged over $700 million in cryptocurrency through Bitzlato, either directly or through intermediaries. This activity continued until his April 2022 when Hydra was suspended by US and German law enforcement agencies.